Healthcare 360: Workforce Development at Beth Israel Lahey Health

December 06, 2023

Podcast: A Discussion on Workforce Development

On this week’s episode of Healthcare 360, Dr. Rob Fields sits down with Joanne Pokaski, MPA, Assistant Vice President of Workforce Planning and Development at Beth Israel Lahey Health, to discuss workforce development.

The Role of Workforce Development

Starting out as a director for Morgan Memorial Goodwill’s one-stop career center, Pokaski worked with job seekers prior to working for an employer. She did that kind of work for three years before learning Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wanted to create a workforce development program which led her to take on her first role within the BILH system.

In her role as Assistant Vice President of Workforce Planning and Development, Pokaski now works across the system to ensure employees receive proper training and job development opportunities while promoting growth and retention.

When asked about the changes she’s seen in her role over time, she’s quick to mention the economy plays a big part in what she does and how she has to adapt to whatever it looks like at a given time whether it’s filling vacant jobs or focusing on growth opportunities for employees.

During times where there are more job seekers than jobs, she emphasizes the need for the workforce development team to add value to employees’ jobs and strategize how to help them work to the best of their ability while bridging any gaps in skill that may exist.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Though healthcare is one of the leading fields for job openings, filling positions can be difficult. Credentials are one of those reasons as many healthcare roles require very specific credentials and training. Yet another challenge is asking employees to come back to work in a culture that has shifted to a more remote preference. Add burnout and retirement to the mix, and filling open jobs can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

However, Pokaski chooses to focus on the positives of working in healthcare rather than its difficulties. “I’m confident we also have a lot of great things about working in healthcare too, including stable jobs,” she says, “And here at BILH, we have a really robust internal mobility program helping people thinking about, ‘Well, what do I want to do next and who’s going to support me doing that?,’”

“Just within the industry and certainly within our organization, specifically, there’s a ton of room for growth and development.”

Every other week, we’ll chat with a leading expert in healthcare to learn about the many challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Listen to the full conversation with Pokaski here, and check in regularly for new episodes of Healthcare 360.

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